Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Convincing your Lawyer to Expose the Alienating Parent

Consistently, when the Family Court gets in right in parental alienation cases, it is due to the fact that the alienating parent is exposed as being who they really are - the alienating parent - as opposed to how they try (and often succeed) to present themselves, as being the victim of the other parent's wrath. Prior to this "light bulb" going on for the Court, the lion's share of the focus is typically on the falsely accused targeted parent, who has very often spent all of their energy and resources of defending them self against things that they never did. Very often, when it is suggested that litigation strategy be focused on exposing the alienating parent's actual behavior as opposed to only defending the targeted parent, the attorney will be resistant to this, arguing that they want their client - the targeted parent - to be perceived as the "reasonable one" and that to go after the alienating parent would damage this "reasonable" image. In cases where parental alienation is not present, I could not agree more. However, when it is present, the goal of exposing the alienating parent for who they really are, is the only strategy that will ultimately result in success. Take for example the case of Dwayne Wade, the NBA basketball star. He had been accused of every kind of abuse and misjudgment imaginable. The case, however turned on a dime when the mother of their two little boys was exposed as being an obsessive alienating parent. In that particular case, Mr. Wade's lawyer, Jim Pritikin had Mrs. Wade on the stand testifying for over eight days in a row! This is unheard of, however the correctly reasoned strategy was that she would be unable to maintain her image as the concerned mother, for such a long period of time testifying on the stand. In discussing and creating this strategy, we reasoned that she would be unable to contain herself if she was asked open ended questions, which ended up being the case. When one keeps in mind that cross examination questions are allowed to be leading and directive (as opposed to direct examination), such a strategy is legally counterintuitive. It may have been counterintuitive, but it worked. The Judge could clearly see that she was consumed with anger and hatred for the children's father, that she was capable and willing to accuse him of things that he did not do, and that she was willing to draw their minor children into this campaign. I believe that this insight and the courts consequent ruling for the boys to live with their father, was only due to the fact that she was successfully exposed as being the alienating parent via her own testimony. Again,the purpose of all of this this was to make sure the court had a clear understanding of who she is and has been. Very often, the identity of each parent is the result of a careful presentation to the court, so that the Judge has a certain specific reaction to that parent. In the case of alienating parents, they need to be exposed! They are the one's who have much to hide, and if the litigation strategy does not seek to "smoke them out", it is my view that the case has little chance of success. The attorney must often be convinced that this is a viable and useful strategy, but this is the only strategy I have seen work.